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Safety Tips | Machinery

Work safely with heavy equipment

August 1, 2011

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Operating heavy machinery can create significant hazards on a construction site. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health advocates the following practices when working with heavy machinery:

  • General repairs must not be made to powered equipment until workers are protected from the movement of the equipment and its parts. Workers must comply with lockout/tagout when applicable.
  • Engines must be stopped during refueling.
  • All vehicles must be checked for proper operation at the beginning of every shift.
  • Whenever mobile equipment enters a public thoroughfare, traffic controls must be used.
  •  Flaggers – wearing high-visibility safety gear – should be at all locations where barricades and warning signs cannot control moving traffic.

Jobsite vehicles must be equipped with the following:

  • Operable service, emergency and parking brakes
  • Windshield wipers and defogging equipment as required
  • Safety belts if the vehicle has rollover protection structures
  • Fenders or mud flaps
  • Adequate seating if vehicles are used to transport workers
  • Lights for nighttime operation
  • A manually operated warning device
  • Every vehicle with a body capacity of 2.5 cubic yards or more, or those operating where rear vision is blocked, must be equipped with an automatic back-up alarm.
  • Haulage vehicles must be under operator control and kept in gear when descending grades.
  • Exposed scissor points on front-end loaders must be guarded.
  • Vehicles loaded by cranes, shovels, loaders or similar devices must have an adequate cab or canopy for operator protection.
  • Dust control is required when dust seriously limits visibility. Operators in dusty work environments must use adequate respiratory protection. 
  • Loads on vehicles must be secured against displacement.

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